Writing for Health

I started writing for my health, specifically for grief recovery, about 4 years ago. At first I drew and wrote a bit about each drawing experience. Then I started an angry blog which, unfortunately, some of my family members took personally. Then I went to writing school. Here's a little story from the past:

The Story of Kenneth

In 1992 my son was in kindergarten and my daughter was in second grade. Each week I volunteered in the library, doing enrichment activities with the "smart kids."

One afternoon in October a little boy who was new in the group. We were making a complex six-part origami project and, after we finished the second part, he quietly made the rest of the design and showed it to me. Then he taught the rest of the kids how. Oh my goodness that child was a delight - so sweet and calm and patient with the slower "smart kids."

I was BLOWN AWAY by that kid, which I told the school GATE coordinator - who was also the school counselor - after class. She looked completely confused and said slowly... "We don't have a student named Kenneth." I said something like "huh... must have gotten the name wrong" and left the building with my kids.

The next week before class the coordinator/counselor pulled me aside to tell me the story of Kenneth. It turned out that he was a new student at the school, he was the youngest of 9 children, he was in foster care temporarily, he was impoverished, and - as if I hadn't noticed - he was black.

She said that she was making plans to have him tested for giftedness, which cracked me up and I laughed out loud. "Nobody needs to test that kid" I snorted. She said that he did indeed need to be tested because he was currently in the "dumb kid" class, and had been since pre-K.

Kenneth has stayed with me all these past 25 years. How did schools miss his brilliance? Where is he now?  

I hope that his parents were able to get their lives together and care for their children, or that he found a forever home. I hope he remembers that origami day. I hope he fell in love with shapes and engineering and went to MIT. I hope he grew up and found love. I realize that this is my denial of probability for an impoverished, neglected, black child in white Omaha, but still I hope.

Hope keeps me from weeping for him.



Erica KitzmanComment